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Cloned receptor paves way for new breast and prostate cancer treatment
Date:9/13/2012

Researchers at Uppsala University have cloned a T-cell receptor that binds to an antigen associated with prostate cancer and breast cancer. T cells that have been genetically equipped with this T-cell receptor have the ability to specifically kill prostate and breast cancer cells. The study is being published this week in PNAS.

Genetically modified T cells (white blood corpuscles) have recently been shown to be extremely effective in treating certain forms of advanced cancer. T cells from the patient's own blood cells are isolated and equipped by genetic means with a new receptor that recognizes an antigen that is expressed in the tumour cells. These T cells are cultivated in a special clean room and then administered to the patient. Once inside the body, they seek out sub tumours and individual tumour cells and eliminate them.

This form of treatment attracted major attention in the world media last autumn when researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, managed to cure two of three patients with an otherwise incurable form of leukaemia (Kalos et al., Sci Transl Med 3:95ra73, 2011; Porter et al., N Engl J Med 365:725-33, 2011). Trials with genetically modified T-cells have also met with some success in treating malignant melanoma at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda (Morgan et al., Science 314:126-9, 2006).

Magnus Essand's research team at Uppsala University has now taken the first steps towards making this highly promising form of therapy feasible also for the major public health diseases prostate cancer and breast cancer.

"This is definitely a step along the way to a form of therapy also for our two largest cancer types (prostate cancer and breast cancer)."

Genetically modified T cells are one of two promising avenues the research team is pursuing in order to develop new treatments for cancer. It has taken nearly three years for the scientists to clone the T-ce
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Contact: Professor Magnus Essand
magnus.essand@igp.uu.se
46-018-611-0223
Uppsala University
Source:Eurekalert

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